Thursday, April 24, 2008

we saw: Ra Ra Riot

"Can you tell I'm losing sleep"
Last night Ra Ra Riot hit up Maxwell's in Hoboken for the only tri-state area appearance on their current tour with The Little Ones. I arrived in time to catch about half of The Little Ones set, a delightful blend of beach pop, sugar pop and all around good times music. I wish I had picked up their brand new EP, Terry Tales and Fallen Gates, as their sound is perfect for bobbing around all happy go lucky in the summer. Mmmm, lemonade.

By the time The Little Ones left the stage, Maxwell's had filled in quite nicely. The show was sold out, and with good reason, as Ra Ra Riot probably won't be playing venues the size of Maxwell's in the coming months. Needless to say, the size of venue couldn't have been a better match for Ra Ra's explosive orchestral pop. After asking the crowd if it was too cold (the air conditioning was cranking), singer Wes Miles vowed to heat the place up. The band did so by cranking into "A Manner to Act." The song, which also has a kick ass remix by RAC, was a great way to kick start the evening started. Following "A Manner To Act," the Syracause bred sextet burst into "Each Year," one of my favorite Ra Ra Riot songs, which, like "A Manner to Act," also boasts a killer remix by RAC. And yes, after "Each Year" the room was significantly warmer.

The band ran through a set culled mostly from last years eponymous EP, however, like cellist Allie mentioned to us a few weeks back, many of the arrangements were fresh and unpredictable. While the entire band was in fine form, I couldn't help but be transfixed on violinist Becca Zeller (a Ridgewood, NJ native), who is arguably one of the most enigmatic performers I've seen in recent times. A compliment of the highest regard as the last couple shows we've seen have all featured some incredibly dynamic performers (Robin Pecknold of Fleet Foxes, Van Pierszalowski of Port O'Brien).

Other highlights included the John Pike penned "St. Peter's Day Festival" (what a great sing-a-long), Kate Bush's "Suspended In Gaffa" and the set closer, and Ra Ra Riot's signature tune, "Dying Is Fine." After a few minutes of rapturous applause and "SU" chants, the band broke into "Hounds of Love," their second Kate Bush cover of the evening. A damn good ending to damn good evening.

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